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RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850 Review

BlackBerry Torch 9850

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850 Review
Due to a problem with our unit, we used an AT&T SIM card for our test phone calls
. There’s a faint hissy noise that’s heard in the background through the earpiece, but it doesn’t get in the way of us comprehending our callers. However, voices on both ends of the line sound shrill in tone – with sharper tones exhibited on our caller’s end. Switching over to the speakerphone, its volume is adequate, but voices sound muffled at the highest setting. Despite that, we’re still able to hold conversations without any detrimental problems.

Although signal strength appears to be consistent when it’s placed to connect solely to a CDMA or GSM network, we do notice some fluctuation when it’s on global mode. Meaning, it’s best to keep it on one particular connection to get the best signal strength.

Paying close attention to its brethren, the Torch 9850 finds itself in a peculiar position because it doesn’t boast the exceptional battery life we commonly expect to find with most handsets out of RIM’s stable. With normal usage, which primarily consists of emailing and web surfing, we find its battery life at 35% capacity by the end of the day. Naturally, it’s nothing special seeing that it’s able to get us by with a solid day of usage, but this is undoubtedly something that will require nightly charges.


This is the device that RIM should’ve put out three years ago when they embarked on the touchscreen form factor with the original Storm 9530. As we know, the key to success in the industry is partly related to timing, and it’s remarkable to witness that RIM is finally coming around to producing a decent all touch BlackBerry. Needless to say, we’re glad to see that they decided to completely drop all the gimmicks found with both Storm iterations. Of course, it’s better to be late than never because its $149.99 on-contract pricing alleviates some of the uncertainty of picking it up. If you’ve been burned by any of RIM previous all touch offerings, you’ll be enamored by the intuitive experience found with the Torch 9850. Even that, however, doesn't make it quite on par with rival Android models and the iPhone, which still have much more polished software platforms to offer.

However, if you're simply after a BlackBerry device and having a touchscreen is not among your top priorities, then we'd suggest that you get the Bold 9930, which is arguably the best smartphone from RIM's camp right now.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
BlackBerry OS version:  v7.0.0.261

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850 Review:


  • Touchscreen form factor finally done right
  • Brilliant & high-resolution display
  • Smooth web browsing experience


  • Platform still feels dated
  • Sub-par photo & video capture
  • Shrill sounding voices with phone calls
PhoneArena rating:
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82 Reviews

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posted on 16 Aug 2011, 11:50 2

1. Medalaster01 (unregistered)

Dated hardware and software yep because rim doesent have the budget to hire top dev team to make itself a software to actually use the duel core and or an app market that could fire up the competation.

posted on 08 Sep 2011, 14:51 1

15. x-rim (unregistered)

RIM's budget and the talent of its developers is not the problem, it's leadership.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 12:53 3

2. digicon (Posts: 121; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)

Well when is it going to VZW ! ? !

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 15:28 2

3. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1237; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

Too little, too late.

posted on 16 Aug 2011, 22:15 3

4. Artax (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)

Hardware is not a dual core but it really fast and smooth. RIM also wanted to keep the battery life higher so it omitted the extra core. Honestly it doesn't feel like it's dated or slow in the performance dept...it just needs some new shine on the OS.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 08:59 1

5. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)

C'mon. You're telling that the 9850's specs is not up to date, yet you compared it to the iPhone 4 which is a last year's technology? C'mon dude.

posted on 20 Aug 2011, 01:10

7. CoolBB (unregistered)

Ugly design, but that's just my unimportant opinion. I LOVED Blackberry's torch 9810 design SOO much wow, but now they changed it to this basic-looking phone. 3.7 touchscreen is nothing to boast about even though it's BB's largest. Even the iphone 4 beats this. I hope their next design will improve. Their new bold 9900/9930's design is BEAUTIFUL though.

posted on 20 Aug 2011, 02:54

8. Tazman69 (unregistered)

Uh...the iPhone does not beat the 3.7" touchscreen of the Torch 9850/9860. The iPhone screen is 3.5". Also, this is an entirely different phone than the 9800/9810 Torch which is a smaller screen with a slide out keyboard. Personally, I like the look of this phone and will be getting it. I'm not too enamored with the physical buttons but it's not a deal breaker.

posted on 24 Aug 2011, 17:09

10. CoolBB (unregistered)

Sorry I meant that the iphone 4 design beated this, but yes you are right with the 3.5" display, but even the screen quality beats this.

And I'm not a fan of the physical buttons either, but cool that you'll be getting it.

posted on 24 Aug 2011, 04:12

9. G (unregistered)

The Big question is....What to go for, the 9900 or the 9860. Had myn heart set on the Bold upgrade but am liking the look of the Torch upgrade. Mmmmmm.......

posted on 25 Aug 2011, 06:33 1

11. phonejunkie77 (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Aug 2011)

Each phone has its good bad and ugly. i do believe the new 9850 is a beautiful phone that will appeal to some and not others. as far as hardware and some of the people that complain about no dual core or wanting quad core get a life. if the phone functions well then its good. only reason you would need dual core is if you plan sitting and playing games all day instead of doing other things.

posted on 25 Aug 2011, 06:37

12. phonejunkie77 (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Aug 2011)

opp forgot one thing. as far as iphone all the apple fans like to bash on other phone designs and looks. look at the i phone it has stayed the same candybar shaped with one face button for 4 generations and a fifth coming up

posted on 25 Aug 2011, 22:17

13. JoeGrind (unregistered)

I love it, I love it, compare with a co worker Iphone and we both when onwww.msnbc.com and my BB Torch loaded the site before the Iphone 4, we compare youtude videos and same. So yes the wait for this New BB Torch was worth it. Again i LOVEE it.

posted on 08 Sep 2011, 10:38

14. thumbsup (unregistered)

I got the chance to play around with this phone yesterday and I have to admit that I am impressed. Blackberry has come a long way but still is behind on the hardware and most importantly the software. I love the design, not big and bulky and heavy like the storms yet its thin and light. The screen is amazing with the liquid graphics. The operating system is smooth, fast and the 1.2ghz processor seems to run it flawlessly. I like this phone primarily due to the fact that for me it is the perfect size phone. I have had many Android devices and felt that many of them were just too big to put in my pocket even without a case. I applaud Blackberry however I do not believe this will stop the impending buyout by microsoft. yes you heard it.... I predict a buyout of RIM by Microsoft. They will load WP7.5 on all new blackberries. Is it the perfect marriage? No, but its a start.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 17:55 2

16. John G (unregistered)

One thing to say for the RIM bashers... They have always made phones geared towards those who like to use their phone to take calls. More of a business phone than a toy. For those of you Android lovers ... you can bet the battery life will outlast ANY Android phone. Sure, great technology and OS, but what use is a dual core if the batt is always about die. To you iPhone lovers ... One word - Toy. Blackberry users don't need a fake drumset, or lighter app to look cool on your LED screen. Unlike your newest phone, Blackberry users like to keep their callers on the line.

Its more like Android and iPhones are for the kids and teens, and Blackberry is reserved for the adults.

By the way, before you retort, I am currently using a Blackberry Storm 2. I have not had the problems that many have reported. I still like it and it is running strong. I have not even used any of the newer BB phones yet and can only imagine how much better they can be. The 3.2mp camera I have still has better quality than the iPhone 4G. Goes to show that the tech specs may not be as "flashy new" as the competition, but the quality of the device does what it says it will do, and more.

posted on 23 Sep 2011, 19:56 3

17. silkydrip (Posts: 3; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)

Lol iPhone 4G

posted on 23 Oct 2011, 08:47

18. friscokid (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Unfortunately due to corporate restrictions I can only use a Blackberry. I get them for free so I have had a chance to use almost all of Blackberry's models. My last was a Storm 2 which I absolutely hated. I just got a new 9850 and I have to admit it's by far and away the best Blackberry to date. I would say it's not up to par with other smartphones but for a blackberry it's a big step in the right direction.

posted on 14 Nov 2011, 17:01

19. Robinb (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Nov 2011)

Got 9850 a couple of weeks now. love it. Light, feels sexy in my hand. perfect weight and size for a phone. why get an android phone...may as well get a table.The software, with all new touch UI is nice and familiar, but has some neat features that enhance the touch experience. swipe, touch and hold for menus, contextual Only complaints are, the portrait keypad is small, and back key could be moved a little further away from the \'L\' key so I don\'t keep pressing L when i want to back space. I can get around this by using the reduced keyboard which doubles up the Letters like on the Pearl and let the predictive text sort out my typing. The Horizontal keyboard however is perfect.
the predictive typing and learning curve of the dictionary is next to amazing. This is everything that the first Storm should have been. For those BB users out there having doubts or clinging to your physical keypads. Don\'t worry, you wont miss it. I used a Palm and then BB for the past 12 years...and I don\'t miss the physical keypad for a second.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display3.7 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (252 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Single core, 1200 MHz, QC 8655 processor
0.75 GB RAM
Size4.72 x 2.44 x 0.45 inches
(120 x 62 x 11.5 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1230 mAh, 6.8 hours talk time

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